With men’s fashion week kicking off in MIlan in the next few days Grazia.it asked me a few questions about street style, inspiration and things in general including my favorite brands. Thank you Grazia.it for the sit down and interview. (read it here in Italian - Grazia.it)
The english version:
Tell us a little bit about your story. Where are you from? What were you doing before becoming an accomplished street-style photographer? And what pushed you toward street-style?
I was born in Brooklyn, New York of Haitian parents. Prior to street style I directed a 55 minute film, self published 2 books, and have always expressed myself artistically. I decided to shoot street style because I felt that I could capture ‘cool‘ for a from a different perspective, from the perspective of guy who really appreciated style over fashion.
What do you search in a look? When do you decide to shoot “that” picture?
To me it’s about the details and how a person puts things together. I personally don’t like excess (of anything). What I look to shoot is nonchalant elegance and effortless style.
What do you love more about being a street-style photographer?
Street style has been a great avenue in which to share my take on style. I have had the opportunity to travel and both broaden and redefine my definition of style. Street style is like a good friend, she’s been good to me, so I remain true to her. There’s no one thing I love most -you don’t separate the good from the bad.
How has your life changed with the street-style explosion?
I’m doing the same things now that I did my first season of shooting - I just have a better understanding and direction. The explosion of street style is a constant reminder not to become stagnant, but also to remain creative all while respecting the art.
Which is the most fashionable place you have visited? And the place you’d love to go to shoot street-style?
Most fashionable is a hard question to answer. With the internet everyone has access to global style, more and more culture and fashion is overlapping. While I don’t believe one place has a monopoly on being fashionable, I do think New York City is a great place to see a little of everything. As far as a place I’d like to shoot, I have to say wherever great style takes me.
Is there someone you’d love to shoot?
Andre (3000) Benjamin
Do you have a style icon that inspires your looks?
Personal style is a matter of personality and individualism. My style is a reflection of how I view life. While I appreciate the personal style of men like Mile Davis, Frank Sinatra, Gianni Agnelli I understand that their looks worked flawlessly for them. My style inspiration comes from my life experiences.
Your are a photographer but you’re also the subject of a lot of street-style pictures, did your looks evolved or changed because of this?
My looks evolved not because of the cameras, but instead because of my growth as a person. While I still like colors, I don’t do certain combinations that I may have done in the past. Right now I’m into simplicity. While it’s flattering to get shot by the photographers, my main purpose (when entering the street-style scene) has always been to shoot, not be shot. I dress for the joy of dressing, not for the cameras.
If you had 5000 dollars to spend in fashion items, what would you buy?
Fabric! At this point I enjoy going to the fabric shop, picking out the‘perfect’ fabric and having a tailor create the piece I have in mind.
Three designers you love and why.
Devon Scott - A young American designer that mixes classic cuts and a ‘casual fly’ feel. He really has a great eye for both fabric and colors, keeps his collections small and consice.
Sciamat by Valentino Ricci - In my mind this is Italian craftmanship as it’s best. The suits are handmade and without question a work of art to be worn. When I think of best detailed Designer, I think of Valentino Ricci.
Borsalino and Super Duper Handmade hats - I never leave the house without a hat, and both these designers/brands make hats that fit my style. I’m big on details and the hat is often the last detail one puts on before heading out.
Do you read blogs? If yes would you like to recommend to our readers some to follow?
I am currently working on some projects and haven’t been looking at any blogs for the past 6 months. Right now I’m focused on creating, and don’t want to be influenced by any outside factors.
While there are plenty of blogs that have cought my eye and that list constantly changes, there are a 2 that have stayed on my radar:
CitizenCouture.com - this was one of the original ‘who’s who’ in fashion/style blogs
What would you suggest to young guys and girls who’d love to do a job like yours?
I encourage young people in general to pursue their passion. If street style is what they have their eye on, I believe those who are successful are those who do more than just grab a camera and play dress up. There is an art to street style the same way there is an art to writing or painting. If you want to do it for fun – enjoy, if you want to do it as a hobby – great, if you want to do it from the heart you’ll make the world a better place.
Do you think there will still be market for street-style in the future or that it will evolve in something else?
span>I believe that there will continue to be a market for street-style, but that the market will evolve as will the‘art’. The question is not will it evolve, but instead will those promoting and capturing it remain artistic?
Where will we meet you in the next months? Projects for the future?
In the next few months I’ll be focused on upcoming projects that hopefully will have me in NY, Las Vegas, Tokyo - While I hope I’ll be travelling, only time will tell regardless, I will continue to showcase style from a different perspective.
Projects for the future: I have to keep at least one secret - but you’ll surely hear about the projects once they reach fruition.